These are the latest images of the next-generation Vauxhall Insignia being tested at the Nürburgring, riding on alloy wheels carried over from the current Insignia VXR.
The large wheels, and the fact that the car was taken to the circuit to undergo its latest bout of testing, suggest that the car may be undergoing suspension assessment to check the ride of the prototype, or to evaluate the car's high-speed driving characteristics.
Dual exhausts at the rear of the car also suggest that this latest test mule could be a bigger-engined Insignia, or even the VXR performance variant. The heavy camouflage makes it difficult to tell which variant is on test, although the brakes, which are smaller than those that feature on the current VXR, suggest that this isn't a performance version.
The next Insignia has previously been spotted testing near the Arctic Circle in preparation for the car's launch in 2017. The new version of Vauxhall's Mondeo rival is said to be larger, lighter and more efficient; the biggest change is expected to be a small stretch in the car’s wheelbase.
The next Insignia will be a global car and sold under the Vauxhall, Opel and Buick badges across Europe, the US and China.
It is believed that the next Insignia is quite a long way from making its public debut; it's not expected to appear until the Paris motor show in the autumn or, potentially, the Geneva show in March 2017.
These spy shots suggest that the new Insignia will get an evolutionary look, with only minor styling changes to bring it into line with the rest of the Vauxhall range. Although heavy cladding hides the majority of the styling, it has a new swooping roofline, which is higher at the rear, and a wider rear end.
As well as increasing rear space and making it easier to access the rear cabin thanks to the taller door apertures, the Mk2 Insignia will get a bigger and more user-friendly boot. A new tailgate design with redesigned tail-light clusters will help to make the boot deeper, wider and taller boot than before, with a 565-litre capacity that will match that of the Skoda Superb.
Under the skin, the Insignia is based on a moderately updated version of GM’s familiar Epsilon 2 architecture. In European markets, the most important engine upgrades will be the debut of the new 1.6-litre CDTi diesel in the Insignia, which will replace today’s 2.0 CDTi unit.
With a newly engineered installation, General Motors will be targeting best-in-class refinement for the diesel Insignias. The new 1.6 CDTi engine will be offered in a range of outputs, starting at 136bhp and rising to around 170bhp.
Today’s Insignia is already available with GM’s new 1.6 SIDI turbocharged petrol engine in 168bhp form. This engine will also be offered in two lower-powered versions.
The Insignia will be offered with a new eight-speed automatic transmission, which is expected to improve overall fuel economy by around 3% compared with the six-speed manual versions.
Additional reporting by Matthew Griffiths